Definition for ELD'ER

ELD'ER, n.

  1. One who is older than another or others.
  2. An ancestor. Carry your head as your elders have done before you. L'Estrange.
  3. A person advanced in life, and who, on account of his age, experience, and wisdom, is selected for office. Among rude nations, elderly men are rulers, judges, magistrates, or counselors. Among the Jews, the seventy men associated with Moses in the government of the people, were elders. In the first Christian churches, elders were persons who enjoyed offices or ecclesiastical functions, and the word includes apostles, pastors, teachers, presbyters, bishops, or overseers. Peter and John called themselves elders. The first councils of Christians were called presbyteria, councils of elders. In the modern presbyterian churches, elders are officers who, with the pastors or ministers and deacons, compose the consistories or kirk-sessions, with authority to inspect and regulate matters of religion and discipline. In the first churches of New England, the pastors or ministers were called elders or teaching elders.

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